By Shannon Reese
As Christian women leading, we are often seen as strong women who have-it-all-together. While that may be true some of the time, it’s definitely not true all of the time.
At the end of the day, when we look in the mirror, we often see tired, weary, emotionally spent women who feel inadequate or ill-equipped for the role we’ve been given.
This doesn’t mean we can’t or don’t lead well; it simply means we give everything we have as a leader and then finish the day wondering how we are going to do it again tomorrow. We recognize our limitations and wonder if others hear the questions we ask ourselves.
Am I strong enough?
Can they see that I’m weak?
Am I smart enough?
Am I wise enough to lead this family? This business? This ministry?
How am I going to do this?
But what if I told you that God works best when we are at the end of ourselves? What if I told you that God sees our weakness and He smiles.
He smiles because He knows.
He knows that when we are weak, His strength is on display in and through us. He knows that when people see you and I depending on Him, what they really see is a glimpse of God at work in human flesh.
A few years ago, I was feeling extremely insecure with my God-given assignment and nervous about how to lead. I wondered if God chose the wrong person.
I didn’t feel strong enough, in myself, to do what God was asking me to do.
Physically exhausted and emotionally drained, I wondered Can I do this? Do I have what it takes?
As I prayed, God gently reminded me of other leaders who probably felt the same way at one time or another. You see, God chooses leaders fully aware of their strengths and their weaknesses.
Moses was eighty years old and a poor public speaker (Exodus 4:10). Yet, God chose Moses to confront the Pharaoh and request the Israelites’ release from slavery (Exodus 5:1). Then, once released, God chose Moses to be His mouthpiece to the nation of Israel (Exodus 3:15) for forty years as they wandered.
David was a shepherd boy chosen by God to lead His people as king (1 Samuel 16:7-13). The enemy was rising up against God’s people. Though a young and inexperienced leader, David rose up and ran quickly to the battle line. Unafraid, because he knew God was with him, David met Goliath, a Philistine giant, and killed him with a slingshot and a single stone (1 Samuel 17:38-50).
Many of the disciples were uneducated fishermen chosen by God to lead a movement that would change the world. Though untrained, God placed them before priests and politicians to speak truth to the powerful. Those in authority listened because the disciples spoke with an authority that comes only from God (Acts 4:13).
Saul, a religious zealot known for killing Christians, met Jesus face to face and was temporarily blinded (Acts 9:9). God gave him back his sight, a new name, Paul (Acts 13:9), and a new assignment as a church planter.
To one of the churches Paul planted, he writes,
I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:3-5, NASB)
Paul traveled from city to city, preaching the gospel and developing communities of Christ-followers. He recognized his own weakness… but also recognized that leading through weakness allowed others to see the power of God at work in him.
Later, in a second letter to these same believers in Corinth, Paul writes that he had a thorn in his flesh which provided more opportunity to grow in character, depend on God and display God’s power to the world.
In 2 Corinthians 12:7b-10, Paul writes,
… a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (NASB)
Not only does Paul acknowledge his weakness but he actually brags about it so that others will see the power of Christ working through him.
So the next time you are struggling to lead through weakness, the next time you wonder why God chose you, consider that you are in the company of Moses, David, the disciples and Paul. And know that, as you follow God, He will empower you by His Spirit to fulfill the leadership assignment He has given to you.
- In what areas do I feel weak? Is it physical, emotional, mental, relational, spiritual?
- How is my leadership affected by my weakness?
- How is God using weakness to grow my character?
- How is God using weakness to increase my dependence on Him?
- How am I acknowledging God’s powerful work through my weakness?